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China's auto sales growth weakened further in September as demand for SUVs weakened

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BEIJING (AP) -- China's auto sales weakened further in September as demand for SUVs sagged, an industry group reported Friday.

Sales of sedans, SUVs and minivans in the industry's largest market rose 3.3 percent to 2.3 million units, down from August's 4.1 percent rate, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

Total vehicle sales, including trucks and buses, rose 5.7 percent to 2.7 million units on unusually strong demand for commercial products.

SUV sales rose 10.4 percent to 970,000, down from August's 17.7 percent growth. Purchases of sedans rose 3.7 percent to 1.2 million.

Sales surged 15 percent last year as buyers rushed to take advantage of a sales tax cut, then weakened after a portion of the tax was restored in January.

Sales for the first nine months of the year rose just 2.4 percent over the same period of 2016 to 17.1 million.

In September, sales of pure electric SUVs and sedans rose 83.4 percent to 64,000 while sales of gasoline-electric hybrids rose 61.9 percent to 14,000.

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